Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


Dr. Michael Brooks


Schools are held accountable by mandated standardized testing measuring academic achievement. Due to limited budgets, administrators have to decide how to balance funding for athletic teams and school music ensembles versus additional programs and positions that directly support academic achievement in tested subjects. The purposes of this study were to determine, after controlling for previous achievement, the effects by socioeconomic status between students who participate in athletics only versus school music ensembles only versus both versus neither on mathematics, English, reading, and science achievement measured by ACT Aspire Summative Assessments in mathematics, English, reading, and science for eighth-grade students in five Arkansas public schools. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory was used to explain possible academic benefits from participation in these school activities. Random stratified sampling was used to collect data on 360 students. A 4 x 2 factorial between-groups analysis of covariance was conducted to address the four hypotheses. No statistical interaction was found between the type of participation and socioeconomic status, meaning group achievement by students from less privileged backgrounds was similar to students from wealthier families. Similarly, no statistically significant main effect for group participation was found, meaning that students in athletics, music ensembles, both, or neither had statistically similar achievement scores. In contrast, a statistically significant main effect for socioeconomic status was found for all four hypotheses, with students on paid lunch scoring significantly higher than students on free and reduced-price lunch. Administrators can use the results of this study to better inform decisions regarding middle school athletics and music ensembles in relation to academic achievement.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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